Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Aug 01, 2016 How a happy moment for neuroscience is a sad moment for science: Systems neuroscience is celebrating a landmark, but one that shows the way we do science is broken.
QUOTE: modern science’s incentives are all wrong. If we only measure the quality of someone’s science by the amount of money they accrue and the number of “impactful” papers they produce, then by definition we are not measuring the quality and rigour of the science itself.
Medium May 01, 2016 The Zombie Literature: Retractions are on the rise. But reams of flawed research papers persist in the scientific literature. Is it time to change the way papers are published?
QUOTE: “I think there is a continuum between fraud and errors, and I think people are all too willing to go easy on something if there is no fraud,” says Columbia University statistician Andrew Gelman, who blogs about retractions and reproducibility problems in the scientific literature.
Scientist, The (TS) Jan 06, 2016 The Man Who Studies the Spread of Ignorance
QUOTE: Proctor found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue. In the case of ignorance about tobacco and climate change, a scientifically illiterate society will probably be more susceptible to the tactics used by those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) May 26, 2015 The University of Minnesota’s Medical Research Mess
QUOTE: the antiquated bureaucratic apparatus of institutional review boards, or I.R.B.s, which are supposed to protect subjects of medical experimentation. Indeed, whether other institutions have seen the kinds of abuses that have emerged at the University of Minnesota is difficult to know, precisely because the current research oversight system is inadequate to detect them.
New York Times Apr 18, 2015 FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades
QUOTE: The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far...
Washington Post Dec 27, 2013 Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward
QUOTE: major players on Wall Street and elsewhere have been aggressive in underwriting and promoting academic work. The efforts by the financial players, the interviews show, are part of a sweeping campaign to beat back regulation and shape policies that affect the prices that people around the world pay for essentials like food, fuel and cotton.
New York Times Oct 19, 2013 Scientific research has changed the world. Now it needs to change itself
QUOTE: Too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis (see article). A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic.
Economist Aug 02, 2013 A Cheap Spying Tool With a High Creepy Factor
QUOTE: You could spy on your ex-lover, by placing the sensor boxes near the places the person frequents, or your teenage child, or the residents of a particular neighborhood....“I haven’t done a full deployment of this because the United States government has made a practice of prosecuting security researchers,”...
New York Times Jul 30, 2013 Car hacking scientists agree to delay paper that could unlock Porsches University of Birmingham and Dutch university say they will respect injunction from High Court to stop paper that could detail ho
QUOTE: The University of Birmingham says it will defer any publication of an academic paper which reveals secret codes to bypass the security on top-end cars including Porsches and Bentleys following a high court injunction....The Guardian's article has prompted a massive debate about the balancing interests of industry and those of scientists, a debate that has infected all sectors ranging from medicine to car manufacturing.
Guardian Unlimited May 28, 2013 WHO calls Middle Eastern virus, MERS, ‘threat to the entire world’ as death toll rises: The SARS-like virus has so far killed 24 people, more than half of those diagnosed.
QUOTE: ...the WHO says that more than half of the people who have been diagnosed with MERS have died. The organization said that 24 of 44 confirmed MERS cases have ended in death. In a move that might complicate finding a vaccine, Dutch scientists have taken the unusual step of patenting the killer virus.
New York Daily News Dec 11, 2012 Scientists Propose Central Database for Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
QUOTE: a lack of standardization in COI disclosures increases the administrative burden on physicians and increases the chances of being accused of incomplete and misleading statements. As a solution, their committee — facilitated by the Institute of Medicine — recommends the creation of a centralize database for the disclosure and reporting of interests.
Scholarly Kitchen Nov 24, 2012 As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias
QUOTE: What only careful readers of the article would have gleaned is the extent of the financial connections between the drugmaker and the research.Whether these ties altered the report on Avandia may be impossible for readers to know. But while sorting through the data from more than 4,000 patients, the investigators missed hints of a danger that, when fully realized four years later, would lead to Avandia’s virtual disappearance from the United States: The drug raised the risk of heart attacks....
Washington Post Oct 24, 2012 Tax Policy Center in Spotlight for Its Romney Study
QUOTE: No white paper or policy manifesto put out during the presidential campaign has proved more controversial than an August study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center, a respected nonprofit that issues studiously detailed tax analyses. That study found, in short, that Mr. Romney could not keep all of the promises he had made on individual tax reform...
New York Times Sep 05, 2012 We must be open about our mistakes: Greater transparency about the scientific process and a closer focus on correcting defective data are the way forward
QUOTE: The scientific community must be diligent in highlighting abuses, develop greater transparency and accessibility for its work, police research more effectively and exemplify laudable behaviour. This includes encouraging more open debate about misconduct and malpractice, exposing our dirty laundry and welcoming external examination....Peer pressure is a powerful tool — but only if peers are aware of infractions and bad practice.
Nature Dec 26, 2011 Debate Persists on Deadly Flu Made Airborne
QUOTE: The discovery has led advisers to the United States government, which paid for the research, to urge that the details be kept secret and not published in scientific journals to prevent the work from being replicated by terrorists, hostile governments or rogue scientists. Journal editors are taking the recommendation seriously, even though they normally resist any form of censorship.
New York Times Dec 19, 2011 Elevation of the Chimp May Reshape Research
QUOTE: When Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, announced Thursday that the government would halt all new grants for research on chimpanzees....N.I.H. is the source of a river of money that flows into labs around the country where animals in the millions are, to misuse the words of an old Arlo Guthrie song, “injected, inspected, detected, infected” and a few other things, all in the cause of increasing knowledge and alleviating human suffering, of course.
New York Times Jul 28, 2011 Useless Studies, Real Harm (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: In an age of for-profit clinical research, this is the new face of scandal. Pharmaceutical companies promote their drugs with pseudo-studies that have little if any scientific merit, and patients naïvely sign up, unaware of the ways in which they are being used.
New York Times Jul 07, 2011 How Bright Promise in Cancer Testing Fell Apart
QUOTE: as patients and their doctors try to make critical decisions about serious illnesses, they may be getting worthless information that is based on bad science. The scientific world is concerned enough that two prominent groups, the National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine, have begun examining the Duke case; they hope to find new ways to evaluate claims based on emerging and complex analyses of patterns of genes and other molecules.
New York Times Jun 25, 2011 It’s Science, but Not Necessarily Right
QUOTE: science fixes its mistakes more slowly, more fitfully and with more difficulty than Sagan’s words would suggest...Why? One simple answer is that it takes a lot of time to look back over other scientists’ work and replicate their experiments. Scientists are busy people, scrambling to get grants and tenure. As a result, papers that attract harsh criticism may nonetheless escape the careful scrutiny required if they are to be refuted.
New York Times Jun 13, 2011 Scientists Measure the Accuracy of a Racism Claim
QUOTE: physical anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, which owns Morton’s collection, have remeasured the skulls, and in an article that does little to burnish Dr
New York Times May 27, 2010 Safety Rules Can’t Keep Up With Biotech Industry
QUOTE: the estimated 232,000 employees in the nation’s most sophisticated biotechnology labs work amid imponderable hazards. And some critics say the modern biolab often has fewer federal safety regulations than a typical blue-collar factory.
New York Times Apr 21, 2010 Tribe Wins Fight to Limit Research of Its DNA
QUOTE: Seven years ago, the Havasupai Indians, who live amid the turquoise waterfalls and red cliffs miles deep in the Grand Canyon, issued a “banishment order” to keep Arizona State University employees from setting foot on their reservation — an ancient punishment for what they regarded as a genetic-era betrayal....their blood samples had been used to study many other things, including mental illness and theories of the tribe’s geographical origins that contradict their traditional stories.
New York Times Mar 02, 2010 Scientists Taking Steps to Defend Work on Climate
QUOTE: For months, climate scientists have taken a vicious beating in the media and on the Internet, accused of hiding data, covering up errors and suppressing alternate views...Tentatively and grudgingly, they are beginning to engage their critics, admit mistakes, open up their data and reshape the way they conduct their work.
New York Times Nov 20, 2009 Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute
QUOTE: Hundreds of private e-mail messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change.
New York Times Nov 16, 2009 A Case in Antiquities for ‘Finders Keepers’ (Findings)
QUOTE: These gestures [giving back artifacts to the original country] may make immediate pragmatic sense for museum curators worried about getting excavation permits and avoiding legal problems. But is this trend ultimately good for archaeology?
New York Times Oct 22, 2009 Research Uproar at a Cancer Clinic
QUOTE: community [research] centers may not always be adhering to the rigorous protocols of research medicine that the National Cancer Institute expects them to follow.
New York Times Oct 22, 2009 F.D.A. Lags in Banning Researchers After Fraud
QUOTE: In a review of 18 proceedings, investigators for the Government Accountability Office found that the F.D.A. took from 1 to 11 years to complete its process to ban researchers. This means many who were convicted of fraud remained eligible to conduct experiments for years.
New York Times Oct 22, 2009 Editing Scientists: Science and Policy at the White House: How much do policymakers shape the science that comes out of government agencies?
QUOTE: the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that significant editing of science documents had occurred during [Jim] Connaughton's tenure [of the Council on Environmental Quality] and the issue remains fraught with controversy: Just how much editing of government-funded science was done, and will it continue in future?
Scientific American Oct 07, 2009 Personal genomics firms must come clean
QUOTE: Companies that offer analyses of future health risks based on basic genetic tests should be more transparent about the limitations of their predictions, says genomics pioneer Craig Venter.
New Scientist Oct 06, 2009 Anonymized genetic research data still carries privacy risks
QUOTE: as the number of people genotyped grows, data sharing might be able to increase the statistical power of these experiments. But researchers are now cautioning that sharing the data might allow someone to learn about the people who contribute DNA samples to these studies.
Ars Technica Sep 24, 2009 F.D.A. Reveals It Fell to a Push by Lawmakers
QUOTE: The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that four New Jersey congressmen and its own former commissioner unduly influenced the process that led to its decision last year to approve a patch for injured knees, an approval it is now revisiting.
New York Times Sep 21, 2009 Debate Flaring Over Grants for Research
QUOTE: Managers at the National Institutes of Health are increasingly ignoring the advice of scientific review panels and giving hundreds of millions of dollars a year to scientists whose projects are deemed less scientifically worthy than those denied money.
New York Times Sep 21, 2009 Science behind US coercive interrogations missing in action
QUOTE: An article released by an academic journal today argues that the psychology equivalent of folk wisdom drove the decision to use coercive interrogation techniques during the Bush administration.
Ars Technica Sep 21, 2009 When Less Paperwork Means No Science: The Paperwork Reduction Act and Unintended Consequences for Public Health Research
QUOTE: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 has had the unintended effect of impeding research and evaluation in public health.
Science Progress Sep 15, 2009 Where Cancer Progress Is Rare, One Man Says No (Forty Years' War)
QUOTE: cancer has proven difficult to crack, leading to frustration among executives and advocates who wonder why the Food and Drug Administration is not approving more drugs.
New York Times Sep 15, 2009 Cracking the Spine of Libel (The wild Side)
QUOTE: English libel laws create particular difficulties for science journalists. Science, after all, is about evaluating evidence. Science journalism, sometimes, requires pointing out when evidence is weak or absent.
New York Times Sep 10, 2009 Ghostwriting Is Called Rife in Medical Journals
QUOTE: In the scientific literature, ghostwriting usually refers to medical writers, often sponsored by a drug or medical device company, who make major research or writing contributions to articles published under the names of academic authors. The concern... is that the work of industry-sponsored writers has the potential to introduce bias...
New York Times Sep 04, 2009 For Your Health, Froot Loops
QUOTE: He [nutritionist Walter C. Willett] said the criteria used by the Smart Choices Program were seriously flawed, allowing less healthy products, like sweet cereals and heavily salted packaged meals, to win its seal of approval.
New York Times Sep 04, 2009 Awareness: Clinical Trial Rule Is Widely Ignored (Vital Signs)
QUOTE: Many researchers are ignoring a 2005 requirement that they register proposed clinical trials in a government database as a condition for publishing their results in medical journals.
New York Times Sep 04, 2009 Ethics scrutiny needed for Chinese–European projects: Panel calls for joint advisory body to monitor research.
QUOTE: Biomedical research collaborations between Europe and China need greater ethical oversight to combat unregulated stem-cell therapies and prevent the exploitation of clinical-trial participants.
Nature Sep 03, 2009 Academic researchers receive on average $33k a year from the medical industry (60-Second Science Blog)
QUOTE: researchers in the ivory towers—and labs—of U.S. universities receive an average of $33,417 of funding a year from medical device, pharmaceutical and other medical industry companies...
Scientific American Sep 02, 2009 The Fix Is In: The hidden public-private cartel that sets health care prices.
QUOTE: Fundamentally, the entire payment model of American health care drives medical centers, doctors, and hospital managers to push for more fancy procedures at the expense of primary care doctors.
Slate Sep 02, 2009 Pain-free animals could take suffering out of farming
QUOTE: might "pain-free" be the next sticker slapped onto a rump roast? As unlikely as that may seem, progress in neuroscience and genetics in recent years makes it a very real possibility. In fact, according to one philosopher, we have an ethical duty to consider the option.
New Scientist Sep 02, 2009 GM crops: Battlefield: Papers suggesting that biotech crops might harm the environment attract a hail of abuse from other scientists. Emily Waltz asks if the critics fight fair.
QUOTE: some scientists say that this activity [attacking papers that criticize genetically modified crops] may be going beyond what is acceptable in scientific discussions, trampling important research questions and stifling debate.
Nature Aug 25, 2009 Probe: New Orleans flood control pumps not reliable
QUOTE: Huge flood-control pumps installed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina don't protect the city adequately and the Army Corps of Engineers could have saved $430 million in replacement costs by buying proven equipment, a federal investigation finds.
USA TODAY Aug 24, 2009 Research Trove: Patients’ Online Data
QUOTE: Several private companies are now collecting patient data and genetic information online to use in recruiting patients for clinical trials, conducting research internally or to sell to drug and biotechnology companies.
New York Times Aug 20, 2009 Microsoft tried to patent studying evolution
QUOTE: it was recently discovered that, two years ago, Microsoft filed a patent for clustering phylogenetics methods, which have existed for years, and are currently in use by just about anyone who does evolutionary biology.
Ars Technica Aug 20, 2009 A question of sex: Nature explains the science behind the latest gender row in sport.
QUOTE: Here, Nature looks at the science behind the latest gender row [Caster Semenya] to hit sport.
Nature Aug 19, 2009 Report: HPV vaccine may be going to the wrong women
QUOTE: some doctors now question whether the [HPV] vaccine has been overpromoted to affluent women who need it least instead of patients most at risk of dying from the disease.
USA TODAY Aug 18, 2009 CSI Fraud: researchers craft fake DNA evidence
QUOTE: some researchers have now looked into whether it's possible to fake a valid DNA sample, and they have come up with a disturbing answer: just about any molecular biology lab has the tools to do so.
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